The proof lies in the healthy pudding

The proof lies in the healthy pudding

FoodTech

Truweight Wellness aims to bring about weight loss in its clients through a meal mentorship programme that focuses on nutritional benefits as opposed to calorie counting

MEGHA MORE AND VISHNU SARAF, FOUNDERS, TRUWEIGHT

Crash diets, erratic workout plans and the frustration that follows; sounds awfully familiar? Here’s the good news for women (and men) in India, none of us is alone, the battle of the bulge is very real and Truweight Wellness Pvt. Ltd. (Truweight) seeks to guide individuals onto the path of a fitter, healthier life. The health and wellness industry in India is driven primarily by gymnasiums but where Truweight stands out is that it focuses solely on nutrition leading the way to weight and more importantly, fat loss. The Hyderabad-based company operates two centres in the city and follows a business model of providing its clients with meal plans and supporting the same with a food product range.  Earlier this year, Truweight received its Series-A from venture capital firm Kalaari Capital which will enable it to further its presence across India.

Taking shape

As co-founder Megha More explains that Truweight was born out of learnings from the first business venture set up by More and Vishnu Saraf, namely a chain of fitness centres exclusive to women. In 2009, under the brand name Identity, the founders opened up five centres across Hyderabad and focused on circuit training. “We soon realised that our clients came to us more for weight loss than fitness and that was when we had our Eureka moment to come up with a solution that primarily addressed this,” says More. The team went into research mode and worked out diet charts, created proprietary food products and experimented upon its existing clients and saw very encouraging results. “By the end of 2014, we kick-started two unisex centres and by the end of this calendar year (2015) we expect to phase out Identity,” adds More.

With Truweight, unlike Identity, the focus rests solely on nutrition. The concept is to combine a range of ‘super foods’ such as foxtail millet, barley, spirulina and more with a customised mentoring programme to help people create sustainable lifestyle changes. At present, the company offers a range of 32 products and More states that the team aims to shortly up that number to 50. “Our approach is unique as we never talk about calorie counting and stick to highlighting the nutritional benefits we are providing to our clients,” stresses More. So, on its current business model, a client can avail a quarterly package at give or take Rs. 18,000 and experience a shift in not just weight but lifestyle. “To see a realistic difference one needs to give the system at least three months,” she says. In addition to the mentored diet programme, Truweight encourages its clients to stay as active as possible and avoid a sedentary routine.

Going tech

As is the case with several new age companies, Truweight uses technology as a business enabler and More explains how. “Our technology serves as the communication platform between dietician and client. Unlike a fitness or slimming centre which is bound by the availability of dieticians at one location, we plan to use our technology to create a seamless reach.” In a way, the idea is to create a digital dietician and leverage this concept.

Perhaps this was one of the factors that won Truweight its Series-A from Kalaari Capital in May 2015. While the investors have been very appreciative on the technology focus of the company, More shares how they were put to the test, as a few members from Kalaari Capital took it on themselves to try out the Truweight programme. “There was some initial scepticism from our investors as to whether this would work as a standalone concept. Once they saw the traction they were convinced of our business plan,” she says. While the sum of investment from Kalaari Capital remains undisclosed, Truweight plans to utilise this round to launch its app in the very near future and open up physical centres in Bengaluru and Chennai. It plans on hiring aggressively to grow its team of 80 to 150 by the end of the next calendar year. “We are also in the process of establishing a factory for our food product range in Bomanahalli, Bengaluru,” shares More.

As it looks to gain reach, Truweight uses digital marketing as a key tool to engage prospective customers. “We spend upto 25 per cent of our revenues on digital marketing and also undertake BTL initiatives to spread the word,” says More. She does admit that marketing is a big challenge, one that the team needs most help with. “Another primary challenge for us has been in setting up operations from getting the right licenses to recruiting the right people,” she adds.

In the very near future, Truweight aims to make inroads in all of the nation’s metropolitan cities. Its app is another point of focus that will bring in business but as More puts it, this category runs on trust and that is the sole reason Truweight will maintain a healthy online and offline ratio in its operations.


Snapshot : TRUWEIGHT WELLNESS PVT. LTD.

Founders: Megha More, Vishnu Saraf

Year: 2014

City: Hyderabad

Industry: Health and wellness

USP: Nutrition-based mentorship that aids weight loss

Investors: Kalaari Capital

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